The film about Pulp

SIMON SWEETMAN
Last updated 11:39 22/07/2014

I wasn't ever the hugest fan of the band Pulp. I really only knew them when they exploded amid the Britpop hype and when the press was getting all silly and creating that Blur/Oasis war and even decided that Blur was The Rolling Stones of Britpop and Oasis was The Beatles it was interesting to hear Pulp, perhaps The Kinks or Small Faces of the movement?

Well anyway, that silliness aside, for me it was only after I grew sick of all that Landfill Britpop and the second and third waves of grunge too that I really started to enjoy the music of Pulp. Different Class still, sure, a few monster songs on that one, and back to His'n'Hers too for a bit. But the one that really sold me, made me realise there was a huge depth with this band, to this band, was This Is Hardcore. It's always more interesting to see what a band will do when the alleged limelight, the apparent movement, has died down, moved on.A Film about Pulp

It was only after hearing Hardcore that I found out that Pulp had been making music - on the fringes - since back in the early 1980s. A compilation served as the catch-up and though I gave 2001's We Love Life a few spins it was hearing Jarvis Cocker as solo artist that returned me to This Is Hardcore and Different Class, that gave me an appreciation for Cocker the lyricist and frontman, that gave me some real purchase on Pulp.

As time goes by I find myself appreciating the band more and more - I'm caught, almost, in a false nostalgia in fact, lamenting a band I didn't care nearly enough about at the time. It's my interest in Jarvis Cocker as artist/renaissance man, his charm and abilities - that's been a huge part of the selling point. That and my love of Richard Hawley's music - a sideline player in the Pulp story, his own music nothing to do with the sound of his money-gig, but it's part of the interest for me, wanting to understand this musician and his motivations.

So all of that - a quick summary of where I'm at with the band, how I arrived at the band - is meant as much to say that the timing is right for me to enjoy a documentary about Pulp.

Florian Habicht's concert/doco movie, Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets is screening at the New Zealand International Film Festival - and it's a wonderful film. I've already given it a plug here and there, told you it's a highlight of the music portion of the festival - I was lucky to see an advance screener. I've now reviewed the film and I had a chat with Florian Habicht. I wanted to share those links here, because Habicht's film is both somehow not your average music film - and should appeal to non-fans, to curious film goers with little in the way of interest towards the music of Pulp. But it's also a loving tribute to the band, a fan's love-letter. It's quite the feat that he has managed both - it's a reinvention of the tired old obvious concert film, doing away with the well-worn tropes.

It'll be one of the highlights of the Film Festival - not just one of the music-doco highlights. In so many ways Habicht's Pulp film isn't a music documentary. But you get an appreciation for Pulp - specifically where they have come from. You also get some pretty kick-ass music, though told in snippets rather than showing the whole show there are some electric - vital - performances.Pulp

I never got to see Pulp - and maybe, at the time it was an option, their show might have been lost on me. But I did see Jarvis Cocker perform a solo show and he was one of the great frontmen I've seen, consummate showman, a wonderful entertainer.

I'm not trying to tell you that I'm now the world's biggest Pulp fan. I'm not. But the film has me back with the album This Is Hardcore.  And even just thinking about the film raises a smile, so many feel-good moments, such a warm and lovely energy pulsing through it. I can't wait to see it again.

Have you seen the movie already? Or will you be checking it out as part of the festival?

Are you a Pulp fan?

Once again here's my review of the film. And click here to read my interview with the film's maker, Florian Habicht.

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